The benefits of commuting on a bicycle are plentiful: it’s good for the environment, saves you money, and can even be faster than getting stuck in traffic. However, not everyone may find the idea of an intense workout first thing in the morning appealing. That’s where the e-bike comes in. By commuting on an electric bike, you’ll be able to experience the benefits without arriving at the office dripping in sweat.
To get started commuting on an e-bike, you’ll need to choose the right model for you. Hybrid and foldable e-bikes are great commuter choices, and understanding your bike’s range, charging time, and how to secure it at your destination will help you ride it safely and effectively.
In the rest of this article, we’ll get you some more information to help you find the perfect e-bike. Once you’ve got your dream e-bike in mind, we’ll cover the main safety tips you need to know. You’ll be ready to take your new e-bike to work in no time.
Choosing an E-Bike That Fits You for Commuting
As e-bikes grow in popularity, the variety in styles grows as well. No matter your needs, there is an e-bike out there for you. While your needs will determine the best bike for you, many commuters end up choosing a hybrid e-bike or a foldable e-bike, depending on their particular commute.
If you’re looking for maximum comfort and accessibility, the cruiser is for you. These aren’t designed for top speed, but they will give you a smooth, comfortable, and enjoyable ride.
This style often comes with the option of a “step-through” frame. This frame is designed with a low top bar, allowing you to step through easily to the other side without lifting your leg too high. If mobility is a concern for you, this special frame design allows you to easily mount your e-bike and enjoy your ride.
These electric mountain bikes are designed to be used in the same way as a traditional mountain bike: on the trails. Likely this will not make the ideal choice for commuting, as most commuters are predominantly on city streets. However, if you are looking for a bike built for rough terrain, the mountain e-bike is the choice for you.
Hybrids are the best of both worlds. They allow you to take on some tough terrain, as a mountain e-bike would. However, they still let you get up to some high speeds on flat bike paths. They’ll make your commute fly by as they often can reach speeds of 28 mph (about 45 km/h). If you’re not sure where to start with an e-bike, this is a versatile option and a great choice for someone new to the world of e-bikes.
You can also find e-bikes that fold up and condense down to make storage and transport even easier. By folding up your bike, you can easily bring it on a bus or train or store it under your desk at the office. These are ideal if you are short on storage space or are still planning to use public transportation for a part of your commute.
How To Ride an E-Bike Safely
While many of us are familiar with bicycle safety, there are a few additional things to consider when riding e-bikes. In addition to the basics, like making sure you have a proper helmet that fits you, you will need to consider logistics specific to e-bikes. To help you prepare for your commute, we have assembled some tips for safer e-bike riding below.
Tips for Safer E-Bike Riding
Know Your Route
One of the best things about an e-bike is that it makes all kinds of routes possible. You may have avoided a direct route to work in the past because it involved lots of hills and seemed too daunting to do on a regular bike. However, with your e-bike, you can easily take on these inclines without breaking a sweat.
You may have different choices now that you’re riding an e-bike, but whichever one you choose, make sure you know your route beforehand. By having your route in mind, you will be able to focus on your ride itself and not on where you need to go. This lets you be more observant of your surroundings and keep an eye on vehicles and anything else you share the road with.
Optimize Your E-Bike Range
The “range” of your e-bike refers to how long the battery will last, meaning how far you will be able to travel. To maximize the distance you can travel on a fully charged battery, remember to keep your tires at the proper pressure and keep your chain well oiled and maintained. Both of these measures will help reduce any resistance from your bike that could drain the charge from your battery.
It’s Safer To Be Noticed
Even if your commute is mostly on bike paths, it is still safer to be noticed by anyone you may encounter on your way. If your commute is during daylight hours, you can accomplish this by wearing bright colors. If you need to ride at dusk or night, you’re better off with a reflective vest or jacket to ensure you will be visible.
You can always add bike lights for extra visibility as well. By getting a light for both the front and back of your bike, you are ensuring that you will be seen on the road or path, no matter how late you end up leaving the office.
To see some examples of how to be noticed on your e-bike commute, you can check out this Youtube video:
Sweat-Free Ride, but You Still Get Exercise
One of the greatest assets of the e-bike is the pedal-assist. As you begin to pedal the bike, the pedal-assist kicks in, meaning your ride just got a whole lot easier. Gaining acceleration, going up hills or over rough terrain will be a breeze as the motorized engine assists you in the pedaling.
You’re still going through the motions of cycling, which will bring you the benefits of movement. However, you won’t have to exert the same amount of effort as you would without the motor’s help. This means you can enjoy an easy ride, even if it involves some incline, and arrive at the office sweat-free.
Secure and Store E-Bike at Your Destination
After you’ve invested in an e-bike, you will want to make sure it is safe and keep it from being stolen when you reach your destination. If you have an option to store it in a secure facility, like a protected bike parking area, this should be your first choice. If you can bring it inside with you and secure it off the street, this is another excellent choice.
However, you might need to lock it up on the street. For this, you will want to invest in a high-quality lock for both your bike’s safety and your peace of mind. Remember to put your lock through both the frame and any part of the bike that can be removed. This often means locking both the frame and the front wheel. If you have any other bike parts that are easily detachable but not easily lockable, you will want to remove them and bring them into the office with you.
Allow for Charging Time
It’s important to make sure your e-bike is fully charged when you’re going to take it out for a ride. A good habit to get into is checking it the night before planning to use it for your commute. You then have plenty of time to let it charge overnight. Remember that it can take anywhere from 3.5 – 6 hours to fully charge a dead e-bike battery. You can use this calculator to estimate how long it might take to charge your ebike battery.
You can always give it a little top-up the next day, especially if you are planning some extra joyriding after work and want to make sure you have plenty of charge.